Does your child really have a behaviour disorder?

Daily Mail – Monday 7th May 2013

From depression to anxiety and ADHD, more of us now suffer from mental health problems and need pills to treat them — or so we’re told. But in this shocking indictment of modern psychiatry, JAMES DAVIES suggests that this rise in mental illness is down to the greed of drug companies and the pursuit of medical status. The author is a psychological therapist who has worked for the NHS and the mental health charity Mind.

When I meet Sarah Jones, a mother of two and a care worker in West London, her love for her family and work clearly shine through. But when we talk about her seven-year-old son Dominic, she seems overcome with anxiety.

‘Dominic is a lovely boy, but last year he started getting agitated and aggressive. He was doing badly at school and then he got into a fight,’ she says.

The school psychologist wanted Dominic to have a doctor’s assessment. After seeing the boy for 25 minutes, the doctor said he was suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD.

‘Dominic is on pills,’ says Sarah. ‘He seems less distracted sometimes, but he also doesn’t seem himself either. It feels as if a part of his spirit has gone.’ Sarah’s distress is palpable.

Year on year, increasing numbers of children like Dominic are having mental disorders such as ADHD diagnosed. In the past ten years, ADHD diagnoses have risen so sharply that around 5 per cent of children in Europe are thought to have it.

This vaulting rise in ADHD is consistent with a growth in childhood psychiatric disorders. It’s estimated up to 15 per cent of children fall under the criteria of a diagnosable mental disorder in any year.

These figures pale in comparison with those for the adult population. On the subject of ‘psychiatric morbidity’, the UK Office for National Statistics reckons that in any given year a quarter of all adults qualify as suffering from at least one disorder.

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